There’s a certain sensibility that a European director brings to an English language film. Think of someone like Bernardo Bertolucci and the style he brought to his Italian films that he then sublimated into movies like The Sheltering Sky and Stealing Beauty.
This exactly is what director Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love) brings to the breezy yet complicated couples drama A Bigger Splash. Tilda Swinton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Ralph Fiennes, and Dakota Johnson star.
Swinton, an aging rock star, and Schoenaerts, her boyfriend who occasionally works as a documentary filmmaker, are enjoying an uneventful and private summer on Pantelleria Island in Sicily. Fiennes, her ex as well as an acclaimed rock music producer, shows up unannounced with his daughter in tow.
A Bigger Splash celebrates lying in the sun nude and getting a table at a sold out restaurant because a customer recognizes you from your album cover. Guadagnino also digs deeper into the nature of relationships. As A Bigger Splash unfolds, almost layer-by-layer, we witness loyalty and its ugly cousin deception, and in the last act a crime that may or not be resolved before the end.
A movie about rock stars and record producers would not be complete if the director didn’t lay a wall-to-wall rock soundtrack mixed the ambient sounds of the island. A Bigger Splash, hands down, has the best use of Nilsson’s “Jump into the Fire” in a film ever.
A Bigger Splash opens exclusively at the River Oaks Theatre, as well as the Cinemark Tinseltown in The Woodlands, this weekend.
— Michael Bergeron